Students demonstrated on the campus of Stanford University during Cinco de Mayo, May 5, to protest what they called a "cultural appropriation" of Mexican heritage.
“We were thinking we want to have a demonstration given that today is Cinco de Mayo to raise awareness about the issues of cultural appropriation and why a lot of people can be offended by things that go on on this day,” student Brenda Munoz told the Stanford Daily.
The protesters claimed that many students wear sombreros and fake mustaches to dress “Mexican” on Cinco de Mayo.
“I just feel like Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day have just become holidays that have just become the norm now to just drink and people have just accepted and haven’t really stopped to think about that it’s really offensive,” added student Karen Oropeza.
According to protesters, some intoxicated students stole and destroyed their signs.
“I was in my room with my roommate, and we heard people making a ruckus outside,” recalled student Krista Fryauff. “One had a Mexican flag draped around their neck, holding handles of alcohol.”
Before the Cinco de Mayo protests, demonstrators objected to a planned Mexican-themed party hosted by Pi Beta Phi, which was called “Pi Phiesta." The party was changed to another theme.
An on-campus Mexican-themed dinner on May 1 drew protest over sombreros worn by many of the dining staff and students.
At Dartmouth College, the local (not national) Alpha Phi sorority and Phi Delta Alpha fraternity planned a Cinco de Mayo “Phiesta" to raise money for cardiac care. The event was to feature pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris, chips, salsa, guacamole and burritos.
However, after objections were raised by a student about "racial insensitivity," the event was canceled.
“We take these concerns very seriously,” Phi president Courtney Wong told The Dartmouth. “And we want to make sure that we respect the diversity of the broader community.”
Phi Delta president Taylor Cathcart added, “We felt that the possibility of offending even one member of the Dartmouth community was not worth the potential benefits of having the fundraiser."
The College Fix reports that UCLA posted a guide on campus for a “racist-free Cinco de Mayo,” which included warnings not to speak broken Spanish. North Carolina State University issued an apology after its dining staff served chocolate mustaches on Cinco de Mayo. At the University of Maryland, two Latino students were upset when some of the school's dining staff wore fake mustaches and sombreros during a Cinco de Mayo dinner.
Sources: The College Fix, Stanford Daily, The Dartmouth